Are housemaids necessary evils?

People have lost their property, their children have been burnt, and others cut, beaten or frozen in refrigerators, others sold and kidnapped by housemaids with whom we live and trust

“I still remember and my heart remembers the day I lost my child in the hands of a house girl,” narrated Anna Atusasire, a resident of Nansana, Wakiso town council.

Anna had lived with her maid for over five years to an extent that she had become like a child in her home. What defeated everybody’s understanding however was the way that maid turned out to be a menace after serving for that long.

She had known every corner of the house, because her boss would leave her with all the keys to all the rooms including the master bedroom. Anna would even leave her two-year-old baby under the care of the maid because she knew how to take good care of children.

One day, Anna went to work in the city centre and left the child behind with the maid as she often did. She spent the better part of the day in Kampala working, only to return home late in the evening and found the gate to her home wide open.

Entering, she called and no one was in the house. She looked around there was neither a single chair nor a carpet. Even the beddings inside the room were wrapped up.

The house girl had robbed the entire house with the help of unidentified men, who the neighbors said entered with a big truck and loaded every household item, including Anna’s child.

“The neighbors thought we were relocating to another place, so they did not bother questioning the maid about where they were going,” Ann said.

She ran to the nearest police post to report the case. Police intervened but efforts to recover her child and the property were futile as police failed to identify the truck onto which Anna’s property was loaded. It is now two years down the road and Anna has neither seen her child nor the maid.

Anna got her maid when she was still a young girl who claimed she had lost her parents and all of her relatives. She had come to the city looking for a job and Anna took her to her home and groomed her into a housemaid.

While still with the maid, Anna had never made an effort to find out where that girl originated from. She only believed what she was told the first day she met her maid.

In one way or the other, people have lost their property, their children have been burnt, and others cut, beaten or frozen in refrigerators, others sold and kidnapped by housemaids with whom we live and trust.

Tips on how to find a desirable housemaid

Better get a girl from a home by yourself. This will enable you see the girl’s home and master it so that in case she escapes; you are able to track her.

Ask for the girl from her exact parents. This will help you talk to the real parents. This helps you talk about the salary you are going to pay the girl and how you are going to pay it. Is it by giving it to the girl’s parents or giving to the girl to keep it herself? Some girls usually mess up with their salary once it is paid to them.

Tell the parents what you expect of their daughter and tell them what their daughter should expect from you.
Once the girl is in your home, brief her on what she is supposed to do, teach her how to do some pieces of work because most of them do not know. This will help her avoid making mistakes. Try to repeat for her as forgetting is inevitable.

The first two weeks, spend them studying her character, attitude so that you see whether you will cope up with them. If possible try to advise her to adjust sot that she can live within your means and meet your expectations.

Treat her like your own child. Help her when she is doing work and do not leave everything to be done by her as you sit in your comfort zone, watch and command. You would be a bad boss if you did that.

Do not sit on the dining table alone or with your family only and leave the maid to eat from the kitchen or to stay on an empty stomach as she waits to eat what falls off your table.

Do not shout at her when she goes wrong, humans are prone to mistakes, talk to her at a personal level. Next time she will handle everything with care.

Some people enjoy delicious meals alone or with their own children alone and exclude the maids. This is wrong. Let them share with you. Otherwise they could feel rejected and neglected by their bosses.

However, there are certain places that housemaids should never reach. Never allow the maid to frequent your bedroom. If possible, she should never step there.

Never allow her access your academic documents or any other important documents in your family.
Never reveal to her your family affairs, secrets and other important plans.

In case you have an argument with your spouse, the housemaid should never notice it. Discuss it within your bedroom. Not even the children should notice because in the morning you will find it spread to the neighbors.

When bosses co-operate with their housemaids, I think light mistakes that lead to greater trouble can be avoidable.

By Justine Ahimbisibwe